Spotify - Features, Pricing, Alternatives, and More

Stephanie Gonzaga
Written by Stephanie GonzagaLast updated December 12, 2016

How we listen to music has changed dramatically over the years. From radio to recordings, we only slowly gained the ability to play any song we wanted. During the Winamp and Realplayer days, you could only listen to recordings saved to your computer. There were no streaming, music sharing, and generated music recommendations. There were no friends lists or community-made playlists to grab song titles from. This all changed when apps like Apple’s iTunes, Amazon Music, and Spotify emerged to allow anyone around the world to purchase, listen, and stream music.

Spotify has particularly grown in popularity thanks to how easy it is to discover and stream your favorite songs on the app. Anyone with an internet connection can search for the latest singles, playlists, and track radio stations anytime, anywhere. You’re no longer limited to just one album or song at a time, and you can share your favorite songs and playlists with friends and family.

The first step is to sign up for a Spotify account. You can go the free route where you can enjoy your favorite songs, playlists, and albums with occasional ads in between. Or, you can subscribe early on for Premium, which enables you to play higher-quality songs on-demand, listen offline, and enjoy an ad-free experience—which is what we’ll look at in this review.

Spotify’s design and interface is consistent whether you’re listening through the web player or the desktop app. The Browse section is a good place to start fresh where you can check out curated playlists, global and national charts, genres and moods, and new releases. After two weeks of use, Spotify releases a new playlist called Discover Weekly for your week-by-week recommendations. The selections are based on your listening history and that of other Spotify users with similar tastes, so the longer you use Spotify, the more accurate the recommendations. You’ll get to listen a new batch of songs every Monday.

Playing a song brings up the music player, which gives you control over volume, playback, and the play queue. On the web app, the player appears on the right hand side of the screen with a list of related music at the bottom. On the desktop app, the player appears at the bottom of the screen to make room for the friend feed. When enabled, the friend feed lets you know if a friend is online and what they’re currently listening to—something only currently available in Spotify’s mobile and desktop apps.

Your saved songs and playlists are displayed under the Your Music section of the app. Here, you can listen to saved songs and create and manage your playlists. You can add a playlist to the play queue, rename it, make it public, share its Spotify link, or turn it into a radio station for people to tune in. What’s great about these features is how music can become a shared social experience where people of similar tastes can enjoy and share their favorite songs all over the world.

Spotify Radio is another feature that allows you to select and listen to music you love. Rather than listening to multitudes of songs from different albums and artists, you can choose to listen songs from a single artist, genre, or from Spotify’s list of recommended stations. The best part is being able to add your own unique touch by personalizing your radio stations. Just give a track a thumbs up and the station improves its selection based on your feedback.

Spotify is an intelligent music player where your listening choices influence its ability to recommend the best songs for you, helping you listen to your favorite songs and discover the things you’ll fall in love with next. And with its built-in social features, you can easily share your discoveries and favorites with family, friends, and fellow music lovers around the world.

Spotify resources:

Have any feedback on this overview, or something we should change? Let us know!

Spotify Features

  • Search and stream your favorite songs, albums, artists, and genres on demand

    • Personalize your listening experience by adding your favorite songs to playlists
    • Tune in and improve your favorite genre/artist stations with Spotify Radio
    • Share Spotify links to your favorite songs, albums, and playlists with friends and family
    • iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Web, and Playstation apps available

Spotify Pricing

  • Free plan for free streaming, shuffle play, and occasional ads

    • $9.99/month Premium plan for play on-demand, offline access, an ad-free listening experience, and high-quality audio
    • $14.99/month Premium for Family plan for up to 6 accounts

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